Campus Middle School uses talent show to help Pakistan

Campus Middle School uses talent show to help Pakistan

URBANA – The eighth-graders at Campus Middle School for Girls didn't know a lot about this summer's floods in Pakistan until recently.

They hadn't heard as much about the disaster halfway around the world as they had the January earthquake in Haiti.

But after the girls saw a PBS NewsHour report on the flood victims and researched the impact of the flooding, they decided to donate the proceeds from their talent show this week to helping the Pakistanis affected by it.

The eighth-graders at the school take a seminar class that includes a humanitarian project. They also organize the school's annual talent show, and debated about where to donate the proceeds. The girls considered giving to breast cancer research or Haitian relief, but decided on helping the Pakistan flood victims.

"The reason I felt so strongly about it ... it wasn't that publicized in the United States. We weren't raising money like we did for Haiti," said Emily Alameda.

She was moved by the NewsHour video that showed children whose families lost their homes and didn't have a place to live or enough to eat.

"It was really sad," Emily said.

The girls researched the flooding for a presentation they'll make at the talent show, and they learned more from a Pakistani graduate student and an administrator at the University of Illinois who spoke to them about the disaster.

"I pictured what might have been happening," said Kristine Daniels. "But when the speakers came and we researched what had been going on, it really opened my eyes."

She acknowledged some of it was hard to hear.

"I think they're pretty strong people for going through that," Kristine said. "They've lost so much."

"They talked about how much ground the flood covered," said Elissa Mullins. "We hadn't realized how far it had spread."

"I didn't realize how bad it was until we started learning more about it," said Imari Webb, adding that one-fourth of the country was affected by the flood.

Another consideration for the girls – breast cancer awareness and Haitian earthquake relief have received a lot of publicity and likely a lot of donations, they thought. But anti-Muslim sentiment might keep some from giving to Pakistan.

"It made us want to help them more," Imari said.

The girls have not yet decided exactly where they will donate their money. The Pakistani Graduate Students Association at the UI is helping suggest organizations where the money might do the most good, said Judy Nolen, who teaches English, history and the eighth-grade seminar class at the school.

The school's talent show, organized entirely by the eighth-graders, is at 7 p.m. Friday in the Great Hall at Wesley United Methodist Church, 1203 W. Green St., U. Admission is $5 per person or $20 per family.

"It's a pretty good way to bring attention to the Pakistan flood," Kristine said.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
LeanneC wrote on October 22, 2010 at 10:10 am

What a great story! It's great to see young people working so hard to help others.